Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

Books Read and Listened To Part Two

And the other half of my latest batch...

Walled Kitchen Gardens
by Susan Campbell
Print book
ISBN 9780747806578

Walled kitchen gardens were found in the grounds of most large country houses in Britain and Ireland. They were designed to provide a continual supply of fruit, flowers and vegetables. With the aide of heated glasshouses, there would be out-of-season delicacies such as strawberries for Christmas, exotic tropical fruits, figs and grapes. The remains of these gardens can still be seen, some converted to other uses, some simply abandoned; a few have been restored to their previous productiveness. This book examines the history of these old kitchen gardens in the light of what might be seen there today.


A fairly typical Shire book, distinguished by some rather excellent illustrations and a comprehensive list of examples that can be visited throughout the UK.

The Tudor Garden 1485 -- 1603
by Twigs Way
Print book
ISBN 9780747812142

Contrived, colourful and cultured, the Tudor garden was a paradise on earth, given over to pleasurable pastimes and aesthetic effect. Artificiality was the fashion of the age, with clipped and twining plants vying for space with brightly painted woodwork and patterned beds. Renaissance discoveries reared their heads in royal gardens, where gilded and painted heraldic figures mingled with fantastical sundials and glittering fountains. Walls kept out the wild world beyond, while mounts afforded glimpses to new parklands and provided raised platforms for the banqueting houses of the wealthy. Ever-changing with newly introduced exotic plants, yet featuring year-round knot gardens, the Tudor garden was a vibrant pageant, and is given a suitably colourful celebration in this fully illustrated book.


Another good little Shire book, although I could have done with more comprehensive explanations or illustrations in places regarding how the original gardens were laid out, and fewer pictures of modern versions with anachronistic box hedging.

The Pastons in Medieval Britain
Edited by Martyn J. Whittock
Published by Heinemann Educational Publishers
Print book
ISBN 9780431071596

An account of the lives of the Pastons, a medieval family from Norfolk. This is one of a series that looks at history through the eyes of people who were there. The book supports the National Curriculum Study Unit "Medieval Realms".

Picked up in a set of second-hand books and seemingly not indexed on GoodReads, this is the National Curriculum version of the Paston Letters. Although the book covers excerpts from only a few of the documents that make up the whole Paston canon (which covers a good chunk of the 15th Century), it was a great introduction to their story. The illustrations from contemporary artworks and manuscripts helped gain yet more sense of life at the time.

The Master of All Desires
by Judith Merkle Riley
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN 9781402270635

Lady Sibille never goes looking for trouble, but trouble always seems to find her. When she inadvertently becomes the master of the ancient cursed head of Menander the Magus, she has the power to grant any wish—at a steep price. Bound to the most powerful magical object in medieval France, Sibille finds herself thrust into an action-packed world of occult intrigues, political gamesmanship, Nostradamus, and star-crossed romance. With the help of the handsome Nicolas Montvert, Sibille must discover a way to free herself and France from Menander's malignant powers.


To be reviewed on The Good the Bad and the Unread.

Home to Hellas
by Stephanie Beck
Published by Decadent Publishing Company, LLC
ISBN 9781613335123

Jenn’s love of basketball and travel lead her to Greece, but only one man could keep her coming back. After sharing sexy summers with distinguished businessman Dorian Logos, Jenn returns for a seventh with more emotional baggage than she’d like, but her feelings for Dorian push her out of her comfort zone.

Dorian has loved Jenn for years, the young American delivering spice and sweetness during their weeks together. When she arrives in Hellas, limping from an injury, he quickly sees more than her knee is hurting. He wants his love to be enough to heal all ails, but it’s hard to show his love to a woman who can’t tolerate his touch. If he can help Jenn get well, he might be able to make their usual summer last and bring her home to Hellas forever.


Although I've enjoyed the other books in the Challenge Series, I almost stopped reading this one within a few paragraphs due to sloppy editing and research. I defy anyone to find a London cabbie who will accept Euros from a US tourist who is under the impression that they are UK currency (I'm pretty sure most take credit cards though, in spite of our heroine's concerns on that score). I made it to the middle of the book (and it's not exactly long) before deciding that I really didn't care what became of the protagonists. I just couldn't figure out why the author hadn't been brave enough to go for giving the heroine more serious problems than an injured knee and a misdiagnosis of cancer (a cancer that is ultimately curable if caught as early as it would have been in this case). Maybe that was just my issues showing – I've got a bust knee and I've been treated for the cancer in question. Ah, well. I just hope the next in the series lives up to the standards set by the earlier ones.

Combat Barbie
by Heather Long
Published by Decadent Publishing Company, LLC
ISBN 9781613334928

The high school beauty queen...

The face of baby food, the darling of surfing commercials, and the exotic stunner who walked away with the Miss California title at eighteen, Mary Phillips has heard “you’re so beautiful” from childhood on. Tired of being her mother’s personal Barbie, she traded in her tiara and a lucrative modeling contract for combat boots and life as a Marine. She's lost good friends and seen more walking wounded than she cares to admit, but this Marine wouldn't trade her assignment for all the Manolo Blahniks in the world. What does it matter she has no one waiting at home?

The class nerd...

Kyle Stewart heard every variation as he went through school: nerd, geek, four-eyes, weirdo—and he rolled with it. He could count on one hand the number of girls who ever deigned to talk to him about something other than tutoring. But as the only self-made millionaire from his graduating class, he has the last laugh.

A high school reunion...

Despite the invitation, Mary didn't plan to attend the ten-year reunion. The last thing she wanted to hear was—"you could have been so much, what happened?" But running into Kyle at the local coffee shop reminds her that not everyone judges by appearance. Kyle once swore to rub his former tormentors noses in his success, but when the reunion rolls around, he’s reluctant to go. Seeing Mary again encourages him to confront his one lingering regret, and the millionaire dares to reach for happiness.

Can Combat Barbie and her nerd overcome the past to love another day?


I don't read many contemporaries based around members of the US Forces, but I tend to make an exception for those by Heather Long. While not as quite up to the high standard of some of her others, this was an enjoyable read, and I spotted at least one character whose stories I'd like to read and another that I hope gets their own story in the series at some point.
Tags: ebooks, good-bad-unread, goodreads, posting elsewhere, print books, reviews
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.